ASHLEY — The Huber Breaker, which now is leveled, was dormant one year longer than it processed anthracite coal.
Its 75-year history came crashing down last Thursday, reduced to a heap of twisted metal despite efforts by the Huber Breaker Preservation Society to save the landmark structure.
Attorney Jonathan Comitz, who represents the property owner Paselo Logistics, said Monday that the Huber was in danger of collapsing on its own.
Paselo Logistics took ownership of the Huber and property in October when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John J. Thomas awarded a $1.25 million bid after an auction was held in August.
“The breaker came down sooner than expected because once we got in there, we noticed the dangers,” Comitz said. “I’m surprised it didn’t come down by itself five years ago. I’m surprised it stood this long.”
Built in 1938 along South Main Street, the mammoth steal and glass structure that stood 208 feet high began operations on Feb. 1, 1939.
For the next 37 years, the breaker processed and sorted 7,000 tons of anthracite coal a day, shipping the black diamonds on railroad cars up the Ashley Planes to larger cities during the Industrial Revolution.
In 1976 the last coal flowed through the breaker that had passed through several owners.
For the next 38 years, the Huber sat empty and was frequented by thrill-seeking teenagers, vandals and scrap metal thieves.
Comitz said it remains unknown what development will come once the site is cleaned up.
Several from the neighborhood said they heard a strip mall or a truck transfer station.
“We met last week, the principle owners and tossed ideas around,” Comitz said. “But cleaning up that site will take at least six more months.”
Comitz said demolition crews have been working 24/7 since the breaker was toppled.
In the early 1990s, the Huber was researched through a $65,000 study by the National Park Service Historical Engineering Record.
A 53-page report followed four months of inspections and research of the Huber and its breaker.
According to the report, the breaker was named after C.F. Huber, chairman of Glen Alden Coal Company in the early 1900s. The Huber was described when it was constructed as “modern in both architectural design and operating details that provided a highly marketable output.”
The Huber replaced an old wooden breaker, the Maxwell, and processed coal from Huber colliery mines and several of Glen Alden’s mining operations in the Wyoming Valley.